Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5 Landspeed Record CarEnlarge Photo
Land speed records have long been a integral part of motor racing, but for many years electric vehicles have been viewed as slow and cumbersome.
With a 0-60 mph time of less than four seconds, the 2010 Tesla Roadster Sport certainly puts the myth of slow vehicles to bed, but just how fast can an electric car go?
On Tuesday this week, a team of enterprising engineering students from Ohio State University pushed the electric vehicle world speed record above the magic 300mph on the iconic Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah.
Named the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5, the sleek land-speed record car is more reminiscent of the space shuttle than it is a car. But the VBB2.5 is not powered by rockets.
The VBB2.5 is actually the third land-speed record car built by Ohio State University, but the second fully electric streamliner car the team have tackled. Powered by a bank of lithium-ion batteries from A123 systems, the car comes from an impressive pedigree of land speed record-setters.
This version of the car is a collaboration between French electric car firm Venturi, which has worked alongside the University Students in designing and building custom motors for the vehicle.
Earlier this week, the team battled 50 mph gusts and technical issues but continued to persevere with the record attempts.
On Tuesday, the team's hard work was rewarded when the VBB2.5 hit a top speed of 320 mph. Due to the way in which speed attempts are timed, the average speed over the course was recorded as 307.66 mph, setting a new FIA record for an electric land speed record. The car's driver, Roger Schroe, is one of sixty people in the world who have driven faster than 300 mph.
Roger Schroe, VBB 2.5Enlarge Photo
Keen to better the speed, the team decided to try again on Wednesday to increase the world record, but sadly managed to break the car's clutch midway through the first run of the day.
While the record is some way off the world land-speed record of 760.343 mph set in 1997 by Andy Green in the Thrust SSC turbofan powered-car, breaking the 300 mph limit is a big achievement for the world of electric cars.
VBB 2.5 teamEnlarge Photo
The drive to break the land speed record leads to more efficient motor design, better battery management systems and greater understanding of how motors and batteries perform at the limit of their range.
While the team have left Utah to return to Ohio, don't expect this to be the last from Ohio State University and their Buckeye Bullets. The Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3 is already in development, featuring a complete redesign of the racer. Venturi have already designed and built the VBB3's huge electric motors which the team hope will smash BB2.5's current record.